As news comes that the government is set to toughen the rules regarding intra-company transfers, figures have been released which show that twice as many IT workers were imported into the UK last year than workers from all other industries combined. This was despite the number of IT workers who were out of work in the UK due to the recession. Throughout 2008, 29,240 non-European IT workers were brought into Britain using the intra-company transfer system. Only 14,255 non-European workers came into the country on intra company transfers to work in other sectors, including finance and telecoms.
The original theory behind intra-company transfers was that employers could transfer workers who had necessary skills that proved difficult to find within the UK. However, the Association of Professional Staffing Companies who have obtained this data under a Freedom of Information request, found that the majority of these workers were imported from India and were working at software houses. The Association believe that all vacancies must be advertised in the UK before companies should be allowed to import workers. As it stands there is no obligation on companies to do this and as they can often pay the foreign workers a lower wage, these transfers are often used in a bid to cut costs.
Now, the government have disclosed their plans to tighten up the rules of intra-company transfers. Companies will now have to prove that no UK worker is being displaced by the introduction of a non-EU worker. The Association of Professional Staffing Companies believe that this does not go far enough. They have stated that the decision not to insist on positions being advertised in the UK first was “disappointing”.